Easy Carnitas with Cinnamon and Orange

I’ve made carnitas before, but never anything like this…these carnitas are slow cooked with cinnamon sticks, onion, garlic and orange, which combine to create an amazing flavor great for tacos. There’s just a hint of orange and cinnamon, but the flavors are so unexpected and delicious you’ll want to make these carnitas on a weekly basis from now on.

carnitas with orange and cinnamonThe great news is that carnitas take extremely minimal effort.  Take all the ingredients, throw in the crockpot and…that’s it.  And with my crockpot in long term storage (why!?  Why would I do that!?) I’ve found that you can also make these just as well on the stovetop.
horchata and carnitasTop with the most minimal topping ever – minced onions, cilantro and lime juice marinated for a couple hours – and you have the. best. taco. ever.  I don’t even like onions, but somehow the cilantro-lime marinade just works. And if you need drink ideas, these also pair very well with horchata.
Easy Carnitas with Cinnamon and Orange

Easy Carnitas with Cinnamon and Orange

These easy carnitas are incredibly flavorful and perfect for making tacos with. The cinnamon and orange are subtle, but add so much to the overall flavor flavor of the meat.


  • 3 lbs pork shoulder
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 onion
  • 1 orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp roasted cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Trim the fat off the pork as you cut it into 2-in. pieces. Heat a large pot dish (cast iron or something with a thick bottom works best) over medium-high heat on the stove. Sear the pork for a couple minutes. Gently pour in the water.
  2. Quarter the orange and chop the onion. Add both to the pork. Break up the cinnamon sticks into a few pieces and add those too! Add in the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Bring the pot up to a boil then turn the stove down to a low setting OR throw the whole thing into a crockpot. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook the pork on low for 5 to 7 hours, until it easily shreds. Drain the broth (save for later use - makes an awesome soup!) and shred the pork. Discard the cinnamon sticks and orange remains.

adapted from honestly yum


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